HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — If there is anything as eye-catching as the flowers at the 89th annual Tulip Time festival, it’s the wooden shoes and Dutch dancing.
While the music heard with the dancing now comes from recordings and various speakers around the city of Holland, it wasn’t always that way.
Muriel Bolhuis was recently thumbing through old drawers at her home in Holland when she found something unexpected.
“Out comes this, three pieces of sheets,” Bolhuis said. “And I looked and I saw, ‘Goodness — Tulip Time!'”
It was the original sheet music for the now famous festival song, which was first composed by Margaret Van Vyven decades ago.
The find instantly took Bolhuis, a longtime piano teacher, on a trip back in time.
“The music was live,” she explained.
Back then, she played it on a third or fourth floor room of the Warm Friend Tavern near the window as Dutch dancers would perform on 8th Street below. It was in the late 1940s, when Bolhuis was in high school.
“I’m sitting with this other gal, and we’re playing the music,” she remembered.
In the time since then, a lot has changed. Holland has grown. The old hotel is now a senior living center.
But as Bolhuis shows us, some things always remain, like the traditions of Tulip Time, and the memories she holds close.
“When I’m in downtown Holland, I do look up there (at that window),” Bolhuis said. “I don’t think there’s a piano anymore, left in that one room. I’d like to know.”
Bolhuis’ family hopes to get the original sheet music to the Tulip Time festival organizers so at the very least, they have that piece of history.